What’s up Anthony, tell our readers a little about yourself? My name is Anthony Bennett, but everybody calls me TJ. I’m originally from Phoenix City, Alabama but I went to school in Troy (Troy University) for my undergraduate and graduate degrees before starting my corporate career. I did the corporate thing for about 5 years before taking the more entrepreneurial route here in the Metro Atlanta area.
Tell us about your organization or creative pursuits and what got you started?
I’m the manager of Sole Play in Lawrenceville, Georgia. We are the biggest men’s street luxury boutique in the Gwinnett County area and we love taking pride in that. My start here actually began long before Sole Play was tangible. When I was in my undergraduate program in Troy, I started working at a retail store called Step In Style, it was your best bet for some fly shit in the area as a college kid, lol. Vini, the owner and I created a great relationship and he always spoke about opening a men’s boutique in the Atlanta area, and if the opportunity presented itself in the future, I would run it one day. After my stint with corporate America, the opportunity presented itself and I’ve been here ever since.
“Read intentionally, not just for entertainment. Read every book you can find by the most successful people in that particular industry. Doing that one thing every day will give you the blueprint of getting to the top. “AnthonyBennett
What are some challenges you’ve had to overcome on your journey? The only real challenge I had to overcome was my own mind. The best things in life are on the other side of fear, the other side of your comfort zone. Once you begin to embrace fear, you will become exactly the person you want to be. Which in return will give you the possibility to achieve anything you want in life. It won’t be easy of course, but again, embrace that and push forward.
What’s one thing we should know about you or your business? I’m fearless. I’m not afraid to try something new or step outside the box.
What sets you apart from competition? I’m only in competition with myself. I only focus on what I need to do to put my business in a better position for my community. The moment I get caught up into what this boutique is doing over here or over there is when I fuck up. My main priority is what’s best for my business based on community needs.
What has been your fondest moment in your career thus far? I think my fondest moment is continuous. There isn’t any moment that pops into my mind when you ask me that. I just enjoy everything about this journey. The wins, the losses, everything. I love this shit. Everything that has happened thus far is all apart of the story and I don’t plan on it ending until I leave this earth. Hell, even then my kids will keep the story going, lol. To be continued.. lol
What do you like to do in your free time? I don’t have free time. Cliche, right? lol. I always tell people I don’t get off. Even when im not at work, im at work. I’m always working on myself. Thinking about what I can do to be a better manager, a better son, a better boyfriend. My mind doesn’t stop, I’m always thinking. So, if im not physically at work, outside of thinking about getting better, im either reading, working out, having drinks or resting. All essential in becoming the best version of myself for me and the people around me.
Give us your 5-10 year plan. 5-10 years from now, if jehovah is willing, ill be helping thousands of people become their best selves. Helping them provide for their families in all aspects of the word.
Who would you say is the most influential person in your life? I think the most influential people in my life would be my parents. I’m so different then they were at my age. Im so different than the other brothers in our religion. But my parents don’t judge me for it. They don’t treat me like an outsider or that I ruin the family name for whatever reason. They allow me to be me, even if they disagree with what I may be doing, such as smoking cigars, lol. I appreciate them more than they could ever imagine. That’s why it’s my duty to keep our legacy strong. Our last name meaningful.
How were you as a child? As a child I was real chill, super laid back, the same way I am now really. But I was also very inquisitive. Being raised a Jehovah’s Witness I often wondered why I was so different from the other kids. Why I didn’t celebrate certain holidays or why we believed certain things about the bible but other people didn’t. I was always on my kids research shit, lol. I was also a hell of an athlete. I crushed all sports I participated in; football, track, basketball, powerlifting, etc. But even in that, I never really knew where id fit in the world. I never knew what I would be when I grew up, I never really had a dream of being a Dr, Lawyer, Teacher, or Businessman. I just knew whatever I did in life, that I would be the best at it by any means.
Is Atlanta a good city for what you’re doing? Atlanta is definitely the best place for creatives, entrepreneurs and business people alike. Im personally in the street luxury fashion industry and if anybody knows Atlanta, they know we influence everything, they also know we aren’t afraid to embrace the lead on influence. Fashion plays a huge part in being influential in today’s world because everything is so visible now due to social media. Now, not only can you express yourself with a picture for the world to see, you can also influence your “followers” to express themselves the same way you do. They like the same brands you like. They like the same coffee shop you like. They like the same boutique you like. Atlanta is at the top of the pyramid when it comes to influence and the fashion industry is its voice.
What would you like people to remember about you when you’re gone? I would like the world to remember me by what I did for my people. Family, friends and strangers. I like to enlighten my people and bring them together. By no means and I saying I have it all figured out, but the things I do have figured out I love sharing and I don’t look for anything in return. You know what, I’m lying, I look for people to come to me and tell me how the information I gave them put them in a better position in life. How it inspired them to close bigger deals or to start their new business or to invest their money outside of your typical 401K. I enjoy that and it makes me happy. You know the saying, “Each one, reach one. Each one, teach one. Until all are taught.”
What is one piece of advice, helpful tip, or lesson learned from your experiences thus far that you can you give to a budding millennial entrepreneur, creative, or influencer to help them along their journey? The one piece of advice that I would give to anybody pursuing their dreams is to read intentionally. When I say read intentionally, I mean read every book you can find by the most successful people in that particular industry. Don’t read for entertainment. Doing that one thing every day will give you the blueprint of getting to the top. Doing that one thing will tell you the importance of being fearless, being innovative and also how to use failure as the building blocks to your success. In time, you will slowly see yourself transform into those people. The business decisions you make will be the caliber of Elon Musk, Robert Iger, Steve Jobs, etc…
Facebook: Anthony Bennett